From Serving Life to Serving a Lifetime as Ghanaian Chief
March 10, 2023
NaNa Kwesi Atomi I (a.k.a. Bobby Harris), a former JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) staff member, was recently enstooled as chief of the village of Moree, Ghana. Atomi received a life sentence from the state of Pennsylvania at the age of 15 and served 29 years in prison before the Supreme Court ruled in 2016 against juvenile life sentences. He is currently serving a sentence of life on parole, which means as long as he is living.
JLUSA President and CEO DeAnna Hoskins said, “Upon his release I had the pleasure of hiring him at JLUSA as an organizer for the campaign to #CloseTheCreek, a correctional facility in Philly. Through this connection we have built a relationship and bond that nothing has severed.”
Atomi considers Hoskins to be his spiritual “mother” and invited her to travel to Ghana with him and his wife, along with JLUSA 2015 Leading with Conviction graduate and JustUs Coordinating Council Steering Committee member Teresa Hodge.
He first visited Ghana in 2021 on a trip led by God Box Tours and the Mass Liberation Project titled “Return and Reclaim,” a journey for activists and abolitionists to be empowered to do the work but first, be healed. During this journey, there was a renaming ceremony for the homecoming for those who traveled from the diaspora, and at that time Chief Nana Obokese, deemed the Ancestral spirits spoke, and they bestowed the title Chief NaNa Ekow upon him.
He returned to Ghana as a facilitator in 2022 with the same group, and during the renaming ceremony Chief NaNa stated that the ancestors spoke clearly, and he was to take the name of a warrior. At this time Bobby was renamed NaNa Kwasi Atomi.
On the day after Ghanaian Independence Day (which is March 6), the village of Moree held a festival and enstooled Atomi as chief, gifting him 1,000 acres of land in the process. This bestowment of Chief is also for a lifetime.
Hoskins said, “His determination, resilience, and commitment has been demonstrated in the five short years of freedom. In five years, God has restored everything stolen from him. I salute you, Chief NaNa Kwesi Atomi I and Queen Mother of the Village of Moree. God promised what the enemy stole he would be restored tenfold. From serving life to living life, walk in your greatness!”